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‘Black Panther 2’ Tops the Box Office Without Major Challengers, but a TV Show Takes the #3 Slot

"The Menu" met expectations, but was no match for the Marvel sequel.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney) fell 63 percent on its second weekend to dominate weekend box office with $67.3 million, representing nearly two thirds of the $101 million total. That’s a better hold than the two most recent Marvel releases (“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” earlier this year, both around 67 percent down).

“Wakanda Forever” now has a 10-day domestic total of $288 million ($546 million worldwide), which is excellent by any measure. The film is likely to remain #1 through the Thanksgiving holiday and play through Christmas.

If there is a caveat, it is that the hold was not close to “Black Panther” in 2018, which dropped only 45 percent. Both openings were aided by holidays — the first one opened with President’s Day boosting its first Sunday, while Veteran’s Day helped opening day for “Wakanda.”

The new “Black Panther” and next month’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” are key to year-end results — but to an extent that is unfair to presume they can provide them. Pre-opening projections suggested “Wakanda” might have an ultimate domestic total of $600 million or more. In 2018, the 10-day total was $404 million, at a ticket price 20 percent or lower than current levels. It ended up at $700 million.

The trajectory for the new film would suggest closer to $500 million — again, still an outstanding domestic take that’s ahead of all but one release this year. But in this environment, theaters need the biggest possible results.

The weekend saw three new titles in the top 10, but none provided major competition to “Wakanda.” At #2, Searchlight’s restaurant-centered horror thriller “The Menu” did $9 million in an initial wide release, well within range of expectations.

The Chosen

“The Chosen”

Performing better than anyone expected was a Fathom program: two episodes from an online faith-based series. “The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2” grossed $8.2 million in 2,012 theaters.

This broke new ground on two levels. With Netflix having a one-week run of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” starting Wednesday as a preview in around 600 theaters (as opposed to a wider, open-ended release), this seems to be a way to add revenue for the Angels Studios production about Jesus and his disciples and to enhance its streaming value. Initially made available via You Tube and other outlets, earlier seasons are now streaming on Peacock.

The gross is a rare traditional release for Fathom, which often has midweek programs like concerts, operas, stage shows, niche films, and revivals. The precedent was set a year ago, when an earlier program centering on “The Chosen” — an original Christmas concert and one episode — had a midweek early-December release and expanded to holdover dates and ultimately grossing $13 million.

Is this a fluke, boosted by the often strong faith-based audience? Or could this lead to other episodic programs bound for home play filling theater screens? Figure that content providers are considering the option.

She Said

She Said

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

“She Said” (Universal), about the reporting that led to the exposure of Harvey Weinstein, got an A Cinemascore. The good news ends there, with a disastrous $2.25 million gross at #6 for the $32 million production. It failed to perform anything like similar earlier titles. “Spotlight,” also about the journalistic road that uncovered sexual assaults, went the platform route before winning Best Picture and grossing $45 million. In 2019, “Bombshell,” the story of Roger Ailes at Fox News brought down for his abuse, made it to $31 million after its strong debut.

Perhaps interest in such stories, important as they are, has lessened. Or maybe awareness of the ugliness surrounding Harvey Weinstein was a turnoff. The wide release meant less time to build, but Universal can’t be faulted for not finding an audience that may not exist.

The estimate for the weekend’s total is 93 percent of the same weekend in 2019, again with ticket prices much higher now. That raises the four-week rolling comparison to three years ago, unadjusted, to 94 percent. Thanks to  “Wakanda,” that’s the best number since July. It is also, if the estimate holds, the first two consecutive weeks over $100 million since July.

At #4 is “Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery), which is now up to $156 million, with $366 million in worldwide. It reinforces that the DC brand has elements to build on as it is revamped.

Wednesday sees the debuts of Disney’s animated “Strange World,” Sony’s “Devotion” with Glenn Powell from “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Glass Onion,” expansions of “The Fabelmans” (Universal) and “Bones and All” (United Artists).

The Top 10

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) Week 2; Last week #1

$67,300,0000 (-63%) in 4,396 (no change) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $15,309; Cumulative: $287,993,000

2. The Menu (Searchlight) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 71; Est. budget: $30 million

$9,000,000 in 3,211 theaters; PTA: $2,803; Cumulative: $9,000,000

3. The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 (Fathom) NEW

$8,220,000 in 2,012 theaters; PTA: $4,005; Cumulative: $8,220,000

4. Black Adam (WBD) Week 5; Last weekend #2

$4,480,000 (-44%) in 3,372 theaters (-231); PTA: $1,329; Cumulative: $156,965,000

5. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #4; also on PVOD

$3,200,000 (-46%) in 3,268 (-365) theaters; PTA: $979; Cumulative: $61,560,000

6. She Said (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 73; Est. budget: $32 million

$2,250,000 in 2,022 theaters; PTA: $1,113; Cumulative: $2,225,000

7. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) Week 8; Last weekend #4

$1,900,000 (-41%) in 2,307 (no change) theaters; PTA: $824; Cumulative: $43,172,000

8. Smile (Paramount) Week 8; Last weekend #5; also streaming and on PVOD

$1,150,000 (-51%) in 1,569 (-702) theaters; PTA: $733; Cumulative: $104,579,000

9. Drishyam 2 (Yash Raj) NEW – Est. budget: $3 million

$1,050,000 in 305 theaters; PTA: $3,443; Cumulative: $1.050,000

10. Prey for the Devil (Lionsgate) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$935,000 (-52%) in 1,389 (-675) theaters; PTA: $1,369; Cumulative: $18,368,000

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